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Review: long acting β2 agonists are better than short acting β2 agonists in chronic asthma

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 QUESTION: In patients with chronic asthma, are regular inhaled long acting β2 agonists (LABAs) more effective than regular inhaled short acting β2 agonists (SABAs)?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching the Cochrane Airways Group Trials Register and bibliographies of relevant articles and by contacting experts in the field.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that lasted ≥2 weeks and compared a LABA with regular doses of any SABA in children and adults with chronic asthma (for ≥6 mo).

Data extraction

2 reviewers independently extracted data on patients; intervention; study design, setting, and quality; and outcomes. Main outcomes included daytime and nighttime asthma symptom scores, bronchodilator use for symptom relief, daily peak flow measurement, clinic measurements of airway function, quality of life score, asthma exacerbation rates, and adverse effects.

Main results

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  • Source of funding: not stated.

  • For correspondence: Professor EH Walters, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.